Larry Yount | D-18792
By Brian Giboney
Larry Yount, D-18792, was a military jumper who turned into a multi-talented, multi-discipline sport skydiver extraordinaire. He made his first jump in 1987 in U.S. Army Airborne school and began sport jumping in 1996, when his Army buddies Rosie Rosales and Billy Adams took him to Kapowsin Air Sports in Shelton, Washington. After that, he went on to become a record-setter, camera flyer, instructor in multiple methods and a competitor. He’s also a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger. From day one, Yount has shown his love for the sport and contributed to the skydiving community, all while providing for and raising his children.
Birthplace: Walla Walla, Washington
Marital Status: Single (divorced)
Children: Three (one adult and two teens … the teens live with me)
Occupation: Retired U.S. Army and full-time skydiver
Education: High school diploma, 22 years of hard knocks in the Army and almost 10 years of single parenting
Pet Peeves: Egos and bad attitudes. And yes, I’ve also had both.
Life Philosophy: You’re only guaranteed to fail the things you never start
Jump Philosophy: Don’t limit yourself, but also don’t spread yourself too thin. Try everything, but you can’t get really good at something without focusing on it
Sponsors: Fluid Wings, Liquid Sky Sports, Squirrel, Velocity Sports Equipment
Container: Velocity Sports Equipment Infinity I-33
Main Canopies: Fluid Wings HKT 73, 79 and 84; Squirrel Epicene Pro 150
Reserve Canopy: Precision Aerodynamics R-Max 148
Disciplines: I’ve tried almost all. I’m most likely to freefly on a fun jump, but if you look at my numbers, I’m primarily an instructor.
Home Drop Zone: Kapowsin Air Sports in Shelton, Washington
USPA Licenses and Ratings: D-18792; AFF, Tandem, Static-Line and IAD Instructor; PRO Rating
Records: Three Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale Sequential Head-Down Formation Skydiving World Records, two Parachutists Over Phorty Society Head-Down Formation Skydiving World Records, multiple state head-down and head-up records
Total Number of Jumps: 10,000-plus Tandems: 3,000-plus AFF Instructor: 2,000-plus Freefly: 2,000-plus Camera: 1,000-plus CP: 600-plus Wingsuit: 600-plus FS: 300-plus XRW—CP: 200 XRW—WS: 100 Accuracy: 100 CF: 50 Demos: 50 Skysurf: 30 Balloon: one BASE: 13 (including one off the Eiger)
Largest Completed Formation: 80-way head-down
Total Number of Cutaways: I like to say I have my A license and am working on my B in cutaways. Probably 40-plus with 20-plus of those on tandems. In one month, I had three tandem and two sport cutaways, including a tandem double (tension knots on the main to tension knots on the reserve) that I managed to clear and land safely.
Would you rather have a hard opening or line twists?
Line twists. They may suck, but hard openings can really hurt and then leave you without the satisfaction of cutting away.
Would you rather swoop or land on an accuracy tuffet?
Why not both? I’ve actually done both on the same jump more than once.
Does one jump stand out most?
A night combat equipment static-line jump (reserves optional) from 500 feet AGL over Torrijos Tocumen Airport, Panama for Operation Just Cause.
Who have been your skydiving mentors?
The Farrington and Aikins families
What are your future skydiving goals?
Be a part of the next vertical [head-down], sequential and upright [head-up] world records. And be a skydive pilot.
What safety item do you think is most important?
Situational awareness and emergency preparedness
Do you have any suggestions for students?
Try to learn as much as you can, but also remember where you are. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.
What’s the most bad-ass thing you can do in the air?
At first, I wanted to say something like “always get the shot” or “fly both sides of XRW,”, but really it’s being able to recognizing while I’m f-ing up and recovering from it without being a real danger to others around me.
If you could make everyone do something to make Earth better, what would it be?
Quit being so polarized and work together. We all have to live here together.
The toughest thing to do in the sport of skydiving is: Afford it.
Is there one jump you would like to do again?
The last jump on the second day of the 2015 vertical world record. I was an outside pod closer. My jumps had been going well. The previous jump was the first that built to where I could dock on it, and I did! On the seventh attempt, I didn’t see the others from my pod. I looked to the right and saw the next pod right about where they should be. I had seen some ejections close to the base from what I thought was my pod line, so I thought it wasn’t building out to me, and I relaxed a little. As we started to break off, I saw my pod just to my left, so close that they still followed me for the flock off. They had built all the way out and were ready for me for a good five seconds. Even though that jump didn’t complete for many other reasons, mine was enough of an error to get me benched. I didn’t get another opportunity. Now I remember to look both ways.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement?
Being a parent and successfully raising my children. (The jury is still out on how successfully.)
Do you have any suggestions for USPA?
Bring back allowing 16-year olds to learn to skydive. I mean, if they can get their driver’s license or learn to fly a plane, why not skydiving?
What has been your best skydiving moment?
Stunt doubling Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for the movie “San Andreas.” Doing tandem jumps with Amy Chmelecki out of an A-Star helicopter over downtown San Francisco and landing in AT&T Park was pretty cool.
Can you share a memory from one of your record-breaking skydives?
After setting the two-point 57-way vertical sequential world record, we tried the first attempts at the three- and four-point 33-way record right at dusk. Approaching the base from the trail plane as the light was fading was pretty intense. Unfortunately, the memories that stick with me the most are the jumps where I didn’t end up being part of the final record-setting team.
What’s the best thing about being a skydiver from the Pacific Northwest?
The scenery is a big one. Also, it may be seasonal but at least we can jump all day in the summer without roasting. And did I mention the scenery?
Explain Larry Yount in five words or fewer: Serious but not too serious.